Recipe for Holiness: 3 parts Fortitude

fortitude francis

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.”James 1:5  Where I lack the greatest wisdom without a doubt is in discerning the Will of God. There are several factors that block my clearly hearing God speak in my life – primarily my own voice and will are often drowning out God’s voice. A very anxious person by nature – I erroneously believe the more of my life I control; the better my life will be. I seem to have this crazy notion that I know better than the creator of the universe what is needed for me to be happy.  

God is not in the happiness business – he is in the holiness business.  Paradoxical however  the more I order my life to holiness – the truly happier I will be. Not the fading worldly happy but a much deeper, “it can’t be taken away from you” joy! His ways are always ‘different and higher’ (Isaiah 55) from any ideas I may hold onto.   I see tomorrow, and the next day – he sees into infinity (and… oh come on we have to go there… BEYOND!). My greatest desire is always to avoid pain and suffering – though God did not spare his only begotten Son this fate; why would mine be any different.   Jesus willingness to accept the Father’s will, to drink from the cup that was not passed him by – opened the gates of Heaven.   Jesus instructions are clear. If you want to follow him – if you want to journey toward those open gates – pick up your cross DAILY and follow him.

A few years ago I was leading a Confirmation retreat – at the end of the day – one young man stood up and began to YELL at me!!  Yell… swear… berate — completely misunderstanding and twisting my words, he stirred the entire class into a frenzy.  In my arrogance, I fought back. 

FIND OUT how this all turned out … read more on Reconciled To You ….

All Rights Reserved, Allison Gingras 2016

Recipe for Holiness: 2 Parts Courage

Pope Francis_Recipe for Holiness

Personally, I am not good with courage or living simply.   My anxieties have me afraid of pretty much everything:

  • lightning storms
  • spiders, snakes, anything that creeps
  • germs
  • being alone
  • injury or illness to my kids

…just to name a few.

As I have well documented in my Money Monday series; my inability to live within my means for the last 30+ years has wreaked havoc on my finances and my peace of mind.  Where was Pope Francis’ message when I needed it? If I’m honest, would I have even listened back then?

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Well, luckily as long as I’m breathing – there is always time to find out.  Here’s the amazing thing about being a believer and a friend of God – “see I make all things new” (Revelation 21:5); today I can make the changes necessary to embrace this message and apply its teaching to my current (and for hence forth) circumstances.

Life requires courage.  That is clear in the horrific events of this year – just making the decision to leave our homes can be cause for pause.  In the case of my dear friend from our parish, stabbed in her own home by a random act by a distraught young man, even home doesn’t feel safe any longer.  There is illness and accidents; and so much beyond our control that can lead our hearts to ache; and fall into despair and fear.   As a person who has battled anxiety her entire life (diagnosed with a ‘nervous stomach’ at age 9); just watching the news or reading social media can send me spiraling into a panic attack.

So what do we do?  …  read more on Reconciled To You 

All Rights Reserved, Allison Gingras 2016
Cover photo copyright – Debbie Guadino, Saints 365

Recipe For Holiness – Ingredient #1: Grace

Pope Francis_Recipe for Holiness

The Grace Trifecta

Standing before a room of 30 or so women facilitating my first faith sharing back in 2006, I fumbled around for the proper words as I tried to answer one participant’s seemingly simple question on the grace of God.  What is grace?  While I had this innate understanding, I could not formulate the right words to express what I believed it to be. I realized, I had no definition.

Fast forward a few years, I am sitting in a small chapel in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament (aka Jesus in the Eucharist). In my reading I once again face the question, what is grace? This time I open the Catechism of the Catholic Church; and prayed for guidance from the Holy Spirit.   That day the Allison abridged version of how I define the grace of God, was born … Read More at Reconciled To You 

All Rights Reserved, Allison Gingras 2016

Seven Archeological Discoveries that Validate the Bible

biblical archeologyA charge detractors of Christianity make to cast doubt on the Bible’s authenticity is the alleged lack of historical evidence for the assertions found in Scripture. The Bible employs different forms of literature to covey truths about God and the created world. Skeptics have long denied the facts put forth, particularly in the Bible’s historical books, as contrived and untrue. Modern day archeological discoveries, however, confirm the historical events and persons recorded in Sacred Scripture are both factually correct and historically valid.

1. The story of Abraham rescuing Lot is historically accurate.

Chapter 14 in the book of Genesis tells the story of Abraham rescuing his nephew Lot from the four kings. The famous German biblical scholar, Julius Wellhausen, called the story “simply impossible.” Contemporary archeological research proves the details of the account to be true.  Read more…

Saint John Paul II’s Threefold Vision of the Human Person

BEST JP2pic IIISt. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body discusses three states of man. Man before the first sin (Original Man), man after the Fall (Historical Man), our current state, and our life with God in heaven following Christ’s Second Coming (Eschatological Man).

The state of original man concerns two human beings – Adam and Eve. They viewed each other with, “all the peace of the interior gaze.” God walked in their midst, suggesting an intimacy with the creator we can only imagine. Adam and Eve’s lives were untouched by sin. Vice, depravity, and despair were foreign to their existence.  Read more…

Learning typology with Daniel in the lions’ den

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I  titled this post “learning typology,” instead of “teaching typology,” because this is a subject we can adapt to any age group. Many adult Catholics are unfamiliar with typology. So if your children are grown, or you’re not a parent, read this for yourself. If you do have young children or you teach religious education, you can adapt this to your students’ ages.

If you are completely unfamiliar with typology or need a refresher course, start with my post on Teaching typology with Joseph and his brothers.

Since it is Easter,  it’s a good time to look at the similarities between the prophet Daniel and Christ. The story of Daniel in the Lions’ Den prefigures Christ’s Death and Resurrection. I will go through a proposed lesson step by step for various age and skill levels.

Contineu reading at Contemplative Homeschool.

Bible verses for your kids (and you!) to memorize

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Reading back over some old posts recently, I realized I had promised to share with you some of the Bible verses we use for memory and copy work in our homeschool. Well, better late than never!

These verses are helpful for adults to know by heart as well as children. They teach about virtue, the importance of prayer, God’s character, and other aspects of the spiritual life.

Over the past several years, our family has  experienced the Bible as unit studies. Reading chronologically through the Golden Children’s Bible, I look for themes that can help us bring other subjects into our study of Scripture. (See more details on my homeschooling method here.)

I choose a verse for memorization and handwriting practice. Sometimes the verse comes right from the story. Other times I search through a concordance or consult my memory for a verse that encapsulates one of the themes we are considering.

Read more at Contemplative Homeschool..

Top 10 tips for your spiritual life from 2013

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The Virgin Mary Reading by Walters. Here are the posts
from 2013 she might recommend to you.

‘Tis the season for reviewing the old year. How did you advance towards God this year? Do you remember those blog posts that really struck you at the time, or have you forgotten them? Here are some reminders of how you can grow closer to Christ, taken from my blog posts over the past year.

1. Read the Gospels
If you want to advance towards God, you must learn to love Him. Read what He revealed about Himself. Need more motivation to read Scripture?
Here are 10 Reasons Catholics should read the Bible.

2. Stop making excuses for missing prayer
You’re not going to grow closer to Christ if you aren’t willing to make sacrifices to spend time with Him.
Read 7 Ways to make time for prayer.

3. Ponder God’s Word in your heart
This follows from #s 1 and 2. It’s a particularly Carmelite way of honoring Mary.
See Mary pondered all these things–do you?

4. Choose to become a saint
St. Thomas Aquinas told his sister that the way to become a saint is to will it.
See the details: Can you become a saint by sheer will power?

Read the rest of the list at Contemplative Homeschool.

Finding patterns in the Bible

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Transfiguration by Giovanni Gerolamo Savoldo (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons).

Last week for homeschool we did a narration of the Transfiguration. While reading the story aloud, I had an epiphany: it echoes the story of Moses receiving the 10 Commandments. I shared the parallel between the two stories with my boys. Now I’d like to share it–and the principle behind it–with you.

As a writer and avid reader, I am convinced of the inspiration of Sacred Scripture. (Besides, of course, being convinced as a Christian by the authority of the Church.) Dozens of writers over thousands of years produced the book we now call the Bible. They were from different cultures, used different literary genres, and had diverse purposes.

Amazingly, the same themes are developed throughout the Bible from beginning to end. Types and anti-types, prophecies and their fulfillment, fill its pages. You can follow one idea like a wave on the sea from Genesis to Revelation, or stand on the shore and admire the rhythm of the ocean that is the entire Bible.
I love to share these patterns with my children. I get excited about them, and that excites my boys!

Read the rest at Contemplative Homeschool.